“Ask the communications department to publish a story in the intranet.” Does this sound familiar to you? Usually a good idea, success or an innovation stays only between a small group of people. Open culture, information sharing, agile ways of working and finding the right information and expert are good targets when a global company wants to renew the ways of working. However, often the focus is on the actual tools, then an efficient IT-project is implemented and after a few months it is found that nothing really changed. So, what should be done to change the ways of working permanently?
People in the core of the change
”We had dreamed about the idea of agile and digital ways of working and an open communication for a long time. We started looking into the matter together with IT and communications departments and quickly realized that we need to ask about the challenges in daily work from the whole personnel. This pre-study was a base for the Cosmos project and a good starting point for the change execution. In the planning phase we constantly needed to remind ourselves of keeping our focus on the interaction development and cultural change, to avoid discussing too much on the tool features”, says Jatta Pakkanen, Internal Communications Specialist at Neste.
Change execution planning was facilitated by CCEA. When the project really kicked off, Johanna Tynkkynen, Senior Consultant at CCEA, jumped into the project to lead the change stream.
”From the beginning focus was on the people. We wanted to take Neste employees on board to plan the new ways of working and get a strong commitment and support from the top management and line managers. In addition, we founded a network of extremely committed volunteer change agents”, Johanna says.
Full array of change execution tools in use
Continuous and persistent change communications, numerous info sessions, regular alignment with management, line manager support, vast engagement of the different organizations and the support of the local change agent network helped Cosmos to a strong start at Neste.
“Already during the first week the change was significant. Our CEO created his own open discussion channel in Cosmos where he has shared his feelings and answered questions from the personnel on weekly basis. For the first time all Neste employees have one common communication environment where they can reach each other easily. There has been a good amount of conversations in Cosmos and teams have set up their own groups for both work and free-time. Even though some of the ways of working and digital tools still require learning, this has been an incredible start, praises project Steering Manager, Digital Communications and Marketing Manager Paula Narkiniemi.
When we asked Paula to share her best practices in executing a similar change, she turns the topic the other way around: How do you ensure that nothing really changes? If this list looks familiar, you know that next time you should do something differently to make the change really succeed:
- Forget the people, focus on the technology.
- Don’t tie the change into your targets.
- Don’t talk about change, it scares people off.
- Ensure that you can finish everything by yourself or at most with one colleague. You surely don’t need anybody else.
- Send one email to DL-ALL, additionally you can publish one article in the intranet. Goal achieved!
Do you want to know how a similar change was executed in Microsoft environment? – Read case Huhtamaki here.